Arquitectura Viva
Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Jean Nouvel, Qatar National Museum in Doha

Inspired by the whimsical crystal forms of desert roses, the museum uses its formal expressiveness to establish a link between the Bedoiun culture and global modernity. An organic system of intersected disks stretches around the ancient Amiri Palace, creating an undulating itinerary in its interior: a journey through the past, the present, and the future of the country. The National Museum of Qatar is an example of the architect´s support of structural innovation as a response to the search for formal identity. The building has approximately 40,000 m2 of covere area and is surrounded by a park of 112,000 m2 that erinterprets the desert landscape of Qatar. Located at the south end of Doha Corniche waterfront promenade, the museum is the first monument visitors see upon arrival at the New Doha International Airport; the building is thus set to become the welcome image to Qatar.

The structure consists of a series of disks of spherical section with different diameters and variable curvatures. The vertical disks are the support of the project and transmit the rest of loads from the horizontal planes to the base. The disks are formed by a radial steel truss structure assembled with a waterproofing envelope. In the interstices between them appear the glasses with the embedded mullions, so that from the outside they appear to be frameless. The design is a response to local climate: large overhangs provide shaded spaces, concrete and vegetation are native, and the thermal buffer zones within the disk cavities create thermal mass reducing cooling loads. The sand-colored concrete integrates perfectly in the humid and dusty Qatari environment. The building, like the people of the desert whose history it tells, is based on light, shade, and flowing movement, and grows from the earth merging with it.

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